BEIJING Aug 10 Olympic organisers vowed to
tighten security in central Beijing on Sunday after an American
tourist died in a stabbing attack, but they insisted the
Chinese capital was safe and Western sightseers were unfazed.
"We are going to strengthen the security at scenic spots
... to make sure no sharp weapons can be brought into the
area," Beijing Olympic spokesman Wang Wei told a news
"Beijing is a safe city but unfortunately we are not immune
to violent acts," he said, adding that there was no reason to
believe the attack was targeted on Americans.
Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed regret during a
meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush for Saturday's
unprovoked attack at the Drum Tower, a popular tourist spot.
"I would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to you and
the family of the victims over this unfortunate incident," Hu
said, adding that investigations had been launched.
Todd Bachman was fatally stabbed, his wife Barbara suffered
multiple lacerations and their attacker, an unemployed Chinese
man, then leapt to his death from the 45-metre (148-foot)
Barbara Bachman was in a critical but stable condition on
Sunday after undergoing eight hours of surgery, while a tour
guide who was also injured in the attack was out of danger.
Police have said the attacker, Tang Yongming, 47, from the
eastern city of Hangzhou, had no previous criminal record and
they had no idea what his motive was.
VOLLEYBALL TEAM "DEVASTATED"
The Bachmans are the parents-in-law of the New Zealand-born
coach of the U.S. men's volleyball team, Hugh McCutcheon. Their
daughter was a member of the U.S women's volleyball team in
Athens four years ago.
The men's volleyball team took to the court Sunday, beating
Venezuela 3-2 without McCutcheon on the bench. "We are
absolutely devastated by what has occurred, for their loss and
for everything they are going through," the team said in a
statement. With 500,000 overseas visitors expected in
Beijing for the Olympics, the murder is an embarrassment for
China which has been a pains to highlight the security steps it
However, foreign tourists sightseeing in a rainy Tiananmen
Square on Sunday were not concerned about their safety.
"It is tragic for the family concerned but it won't change
our plans. This really could happen anywhere," Canadian tourist
Linda Heathcott from Calgary told Reuters.
The crime rate is relatively low in China, where serious
offences carry the death penalty, and attacks on foreigners are
The U.S. government said that over the past year incidents
of violence against foreigners, including sexual assaults, had
taken place, usually in urban areas near bars and nightclubs.
Austrian tourist Michael Dojacek from Vienna said he felt
safe with so many police and soldiers on duty in the streets.
"But I am going to be staying with my tour group though as
it is when you go off on your own you could get trouble," he
Students Julia Tsybulevskaya from Rostov, Russia, and
Naveed Anjum from Abbottabad, Pakistan, said they never felt
unsafe walking around Beijing, even late at night. "In Moscow
there is no way I would walk at night as I do here," said
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said the attack on the Bachmans
appeared to be "a senseless act of violence".
"This appears to be an isolated act with no connection to
the Olympics," it said in a statement. "We have no reason to
believe that the assailant targeted the victims as American
(Additional reporting by Simon Evans, Belinda Goldsmith and
Paul Majendie; Editing by Nick Macfie)
(For more stories visit our multimedia website "2008 Summer
and see our blog at blogs.reuters.com/china)